South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas has delivered a number of verbal barbs to New South Wales after besting the rival state in the bid for the AFL’s new round.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan confirmed on Friday that Malinauskas had been successful in delivering the round to South Australia, which will take place in Round 5 and see all nine games played there.
Malinauskas labelled the victory “the big prize we’ve been working really hard for.”
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While not divulging how much the state spent to seal the deal, Malinauskas replied, “I’m not too sure it’s as much as New South Wales was putting on the table but that’s for them to speak about.”
The round is set to involve three double headers at Adelaide Oval, with the remaining three games to be held at other venues that are being considered.
Malinauskas encouraged interstate residents to book their tickets to South Australia starting from Friday, with the AFL to confirm the exact matchups in its fixture planning, with the round taking place between Thursday April 13 and Sunday April 16, with tickets free for all applicable club members.
The premier said “South Australians show up” and that the state’s locals would attend in droves to support the initiative.
Asked to deliver a message to New South Wales premier Dominic Perrottet, Malinauskas replied: “We welcome the competition, but obviously the best team won.”
He also said the state would try and put on such a show for the round next season that “it makes it almost impossible for the AFL not to want to continue the 24th round into the future and that South Australia is always going to be considered to be a leading contender to get it in the future.”
“That’s our ambition. The objective was to get it first, we wanted to get it here first. I didn’t want anyone else’s sloppy seconds, particularly Sydney’s.”
Malinauskas delivered a final broadside to New South Wales as part of the announcement.
“We get more people here to the cricket for a Test Match at Adelaide Oval with our population in comparison to Sydney with their hordes. Footy is no different,” he said.
“Turn on the NRL most weekends and it looks like a SANFL game. We’re going to get far bigger crowds here and that’s what we’re proud of and is worth backing in.”